This issue’s cover story on David Gremmels, president of Rogue Creamery, is compelling, partially because David is fascinating, partly because it reveals the complexity of making great cheese, which is engrossing, and partly because the specifics of his story — southern Oregon, organic, a “world’s finest mission,” pears, Syrah grape leaves, etc. — are just so emotive and so rooted in a time and place. These all play into the definition of terroir that goes beyond environmental factors to incorporate the cultural and business eco-system in which a cheese is produced.
The broader insight of this cover, though, is why specialty cheese is not merely delicious, but intriguing and fun. Done well — and Cheese Connoisseur magazine is all about helping you to do it well — eating great cheese is not a disinterested experience. Think about the joy people who love live sports get from attending a game. It is not just the athleticism of the moment they enjoy; it is the deep knowledge and heritage.
The fans know each player and his or her history; they know the passion of historic rival teams and the dynamics between players and coaches. When they watch a game, it is not just the facts — how many points someone scored – it is an opera unfurling across the field. The player, who abandoned the team and is now the enemy and is proving himself to the coach who cut him last year, or gaining revenge of the player who wronged him in college ball. As a result, the game is intellectually engaging and infused with passion.
So it is with specialty cheese. Although, of course, many just find some cheese they like and stick with it or even try new cheeses and judge based on taste alone. What our cover story really reminds us is that each cheese has a story behind it.
Rogue is most famous for its Rogue River Blue, and we’ve given you a great story to imbibe with the cheese. But every great cheese has a great story. G.K. Chesterson wrote a sonnet titled, “Sonnet to a Stilton Cheese” — a parody of William Wordsworth’s sonnet “London, 1802”. It starts:
Stilton, thou shouldst be living at this hour
And so thou art. Nor losest grace thereby;
England has need of thee, and so have I —
And so do we all have the need for great stories to enrich our gustatory experiences and, indeed, our lives. Read the cover story, and every issue, and know that every bite of specialty cheese carries with it a history, a romance and a taste enriched by knowledge. We are happy to play a role in bringing you this knowledge… and this joy.